CREW SF’s annual Winter Benefit took place on Thurs. Nov. 30, 2017, with a total of more than $13,000 in silent auction proceeds being donated to the CREW Network Foundation in honor of beloved CREW SF member Nina Gruen, who passed away on Sept. 15, 2017. Nina was an energetic contributor to our organization, a revolutionary in the real estate community and a pioneer for women in the field. Her company and kindness will be sorely missed.
“To say Nina was an inspiration is not enough,” said Molly Jans, 2019 President-Elect. “She brought me in as a friend and I love and will miss her. Her mentorship, keen observations and friendship have meant so much to me.”
“When Nina Gruen asked for something, she got it! I am so grateful that I had the good fortune to know her,” added Jennifer Raike, 2002 CREW SF President and 2016 CREW Chapter MVP. “I will miss her greatly.”
Nina was an integral and cherished founding member of CREW SF. She often shared her vast professional and personal knowledge through presentations, mentoring and animated conversations. Her experience and knowhow, coupled with her dynamic personality, greatly enriched CREW SF as an organization and also the individuals with whom she connected.
“Nina wasn’t just special for breaking barriers and blazing trails for women,” said Angie Sommer, former Managing Editor of The VIEW. “She was special because of her humor, her loyalty, her immense intelligence and her intense curiosity. Spending time with her and Claude (husband) was like drinking from a firehose of knowledge, stories and wit.”
Since co-founding Gruen Gruen + Associates, a renowned San Francisco–based firm that continues to provide research-based consulting and implementation services to the real estate industry and land-use policy makers, with Claude in 1970, Nina served as executive vice president and principal sociologist. She pioneered the use of behavioral research to predict market demand for commercial and residential real estate, and her work resulted in the development and redevelopment of numerous projects, varying in scale. Beyond the Bay Area, her efforts have led to the adoption of public policies and infrastructure programs that revitalized areas of California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.
In 1982, Nina became the first woman trustee of the Urban Land Institute, and continued to be active in that organization, serving on ULI's District Council Executive Committee through 2016. In 1984, she became the first woman to be elected President of the academic Western Regional Science Association. An expansion of her presidential address to WRSA, "Sociological and Cultural Variables in Housing" was published in The Annals of Regional Science. Nina served on the State of California Transportation Department's Airspace Advisory Committee for 15 years and was its Chair from 2002 through 2005. She was also an active member of the International Women's Forum and President of its Northern California affiliate from 1995-1996. In the media world, she was known as Ms. Real Estate, writing an advice column for the ALM Media Group since 2014.
“I met Nina in 2008 when she was the featured speaker at the new members lunch I attended,” shared 2016 -2017 Board member Debbie Leifer. “She made me belly laugh with the story she told - she was hosting a meeting at her office with a group of men who naturally thought she was the secretary, and they asked how long she had been with the firm. She said, ‘ever since I founded it!’ Her wit and sparkle shine on.”